Over the past few months, we've doubted whether it would ever be finished! There were certainly some unexpected "whoa" moments along the way. And even some "Uh oh...that doesn't work" looks exchanged. But after lots of hard work, coordination, and with lots of different and very talented people contributing to the project--each in their area of giftedness--the final product is complete (or nearly, just don't tell my husband about the planters I bought for the deck)!
I thought I'd shared some quick "along the way" photos, then...the finished product far below!
We had a deck. It was a nice deck, but it was lonely. So we added some rails, and a fence to the yard, and my husband built me an arbor swing (sweet man!)...
And then the backyard looked like this (oh yeah, and add a table and some chairs from Lowe's):
Brownies devoured! (You must feed the workers!)
And so forth! You get the idea.
And now, with spring sprung and everything in bloom, our no-longer-lonely backyard looks like this:
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Like living stones, we're being built into a spiritual house. We're not building it. We're BEING built. Three things stand out to me as I look back at these pictures and then at this verse...
First, as the masons built the wall (that I'm sitting on above), I was fascinated by how they would study each stone, and then break it, hammering at it until the rock was just the right shape to fit its place in the wall. In the same way, God is shaping us to be what He desires us to be, and sometimes that process just plain hurts! No way around it. But the reward of being centered in the middle of His will--whatever that means--and the gift of reflecting His likeness in greater and greater degree, is worth every blow.
And secondly, this was one messy job! No way around it. First they tore up the backyard, digging and scraping and gouging. Then they hauled in all the tools, etc... For several weeks, it was a mud pit. Either that or a demolition course. In the same way, my life is like that. I'm like that. I'm a mess. And I make a mess of so many things. But it's heartening to realize that God can take all those messes--both the messes we're responsible for, and the others that perhaps we're not directly responsible for but that have still tarnished our lives--and bring good from them.
And not just good things, but great things!
Lastly, it took a lot of different people with various talents, and levels of talent, to complete this project. Likewise, God has gifted each of us in unique ways. God created you for a purpose, and with specific talents that are unique to you, to your personality, to your background and your experiences. It took me 40+ years to realize that one of the gifts God has given me is a love for words. For stringing them together into stories that, prayerfully, lift Him up and draw others to Him. Who knew that this "gift" from Him was inside me all those years, lying dormant. Being cultivated, being nurtured. If you don't think you've yet discovered that giftedness unique to you, ask Him to reveal it. Today. And then hang on for the journey ahead! ;)
As I look back over this first year in Nashville, and flip through pictures of this landscaping project, I'm reminded of the ways God has grown me. While I also see so many areas in which I still need to surrender more fully to Him. But like a living stone, I'm a work in progress in the Potter's Hand.
See you on the wall! :)